Above: Full artwork and cropped selections – still deliberating whether to reach for the scalpel!
Who would have thought the idea of white space could be so controversial?
Designers out there will know exactly what I’m talking about.
Having been a graphic designer most of my life I’ve regularly faced the comment or instruction to fill any white space I'd allowed for, in what was to me a practice in balance. White space is absolutely necessary, not an opportunity for something else to replace or fill it. In music it is the vital gaps between notes and space between beats; if sound was relentless it would lose its feel.
I bring this up because my work does not (or hasn’t so far) fitted the edge-to-edge ‘tradition’. Separately I’ve been considering whether or not to wield the scalpel and do a few cropped abstracts from one large painting.
Reason for cropping: I like specific detail across it, closing in on that might emphasise it rather than lose it over the whole...
Reason against cropping: Why should I follow a ‘rule’; it’s my creation, nobody else’s, and therefore my decision.
As for the white space specifically? To me it reflects life. When there’s a lot happening, you need to take time out to rest an breathe. White space in my work is that, the balance and rest around the heavy black marks, the frantic scribbles and splashes of bold, bright colour.
This style was never a conscious choice, I produced what I felt in the moment and found it kept on happening. I let the artwork lead me rather than attempt to shape or force it.
True, I have been exploring edge-to-edge, or almost that, just to see how it works out visually. Part of me feels like I’m gravitating towards what is expected, and part of me thinks I’m progressing. I’m still undecided.
This does goes back to decision, and discernment, and both fall within » NORTH » node in my working practice, as does the colour white. White space is NORTH direction because white is ultimate freedom.
What do you think? Do you have a preference? Do you use or avoid white space in your artwork, and is there a why?